Event, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic, Paganism

Wep Ronpet 2019!

So, I decided to stick to the dates I’ve been using since they hadn’t changed the last few years, and instead I’ll just be adjusting by looking up Sirius’s rising time every leap year. It’s much easier that way, since I use other dates in the Kemetic calendar (really, amalgamation of plural calendars) for other celebrations now, and there’s evidence that some of those plural calendars used leap days just like we do, tacked on to the beginning of the Epagomenal Days. It’s a good way for me to keep the secular calendar and my Kemetic calendar aligned.

The Wep Ronpet date, therefore, was August 7th, and my Epagomenal Days started on August 2nd, with Wesir (Osiris). As in previous years, I set up digital votive offerings on my tumblr e-shrine, and I also offered a glass of cool water. I then pulled a tarot card for a message from each of the deities.

Wesir (Osiris)’s message on Aug 2 was: 8 of Wands. Figure out what your goals are, and then go get them! The Netjeru have your back. Decide what you want to bring into being, and use this new year energy to make it happen!

Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder)’s message on Aug 3 was: 6 of Swords. Take advantage of this time of transition. Use it as a rite of passage. Leave things in the past that no longer serve you – you don’t need to take all your baggage forward with you.

Set (Seth)’s message on Aug 4 was: 6 of Cups. Reflect on your happy memories of the past year, and give some thought to your mom harmonious relationships. See if you can turn over a new leaf at Wep Ronpet.

Aset (Isis)’s message on Aug 5 was: Queen of Swords. Do not shy away from sharpness, when it serves you. Communicate clear expectations and boundaries, and hold them. Separate the truth from illusion, and uphold ma’at (justice/right living).

Nebthet (Nephthys)’s message on Aug 6 was: 2 of Pentacles, reversed. Take this new year as a chance to restructure your life, to reorganize your priorities, and to take stock of places you may be overcommitted. Too many commitments will lead to burnout. Find balance.

On Wep Ronpet, I did a red paper execration, where I wrote things I wished to be rid of on a piece of red paper, folded it into an origami snake, declared it to be A/p/e/p/, and then ritual destroyed it with blades and fire. (Scissor blades, if you must know, haha.)

After that, I offered a shot of chocolate dark beer to the Netjeru (all the gods) and opened the package that was waiting for me!

My shrine upgrade this year is this ancient-style ceramic oil lamp with red glaze that I commissioned from a friend-of-a-friend. It’s going to take the place of the (tiny) candle I’d been using in my Bright Moon rituals, and I’m so excited to use it later this month!

I’ve also set up a separate Ko-Fi for donations to my Shrine to Bast and Sekhmet, so I can more easily earmark funds and keep them separate from my business income. If you appreciate my Bright Moon Omens, or just want to help, check it out here!

Celtic Polytheism, Event, Holiday Celebration, Prayer

Lughnasadh – A Belated Summary

Lughnasadh season is busy in our house because it also usually coincides with the start of the Kemetic Epagomenal Days, and this year it also coincided with my return to Priestessing for the Morrigan.

Altar for the Fox and Fungi Lughnasadh celebration

This year, our main ritual was celebrated with the Fox and Fungi group at our local UU Church, which I co-led with another group organizer. We did a druidic style ritual based on a liturgical outline I’ve devised for the group, which sort of splits the difference between Wiccan ritual structure, UU service structure, and the ADF Core Order of Ritual that I became accustomed to when I was previously a member of an ADF Druid Grove. (Yes, those work together better than you might think!) We called upon Lugh and Tailtiu as the deities of the occasion, and a friend and very good storyteller regaled us all with her version of Tailtiu’s story. Our main working was done with leaves placed in baskets. We each had two leaves. On one, we wrote something we were good at or something we’d accomplished that we were proud of. On the other, something we hoped to learn to do, or something we hoped to achieve. As we listened to musical accompaniment, we each came up to the altar to put our leaves each into the appropriate basket. Later, the leaves were taken outside to our ritual space.

It was nice to be with our community, but it did mean that our home observance went largely undone – I wrote a prayer and Scott poured Lugh and Tailtiu each out a shot of whisky, but we didn’t do a large family dinner. I’ve copied the prayer below, for those interested.

Lughnasadh has arrived,
And the days begin to grow shorter
Fruit is ripening on branch and vine
And grains are golden in the fields

Summer heat still hangs in the air
But we have begin the harvest
We are standing on the cusp of autumn
And soon the nights will be chill

On this day we honor Lugh and Tailtiu
His foster mother, who cleared the land
So that the people might plant grain
She gave her life for her people’s needs

Come to us now, and join in our celebration!
We offer you food, drink, and merriment!
We ask in return for your blessings:
Help us to bring in the first fruits of our labors

Lugh and Tailtiu, Hail and Welcome!

lughnasadh Prayer, by Aleja Nic Bhe Chuille
fae, Holiday Celebration

Our Midsummer, and Working Intuitively

Midsummer, for us, is a celebration of Manannan and Fand. Last year we got down to the waterfront, but this year we stayed closer to home. We made a simple offering of an apple, some cheese (we were having grilled cheese for dinner), a fruity summer alcohol, and their candle, placed on our table and lit.

After dinner, we went to our plot in the community garden a few blocks away, where I *finally* got the weeding done (we’d had an explosion of something I didn’t manage to identify earlier), and did a bit of gathering. I brought home this mugwort and lavender to dry, along with a few other herbs, all harvested with a ceramic knife.

This is also an important time for the Fair Folk, and it does seem that whatever carnival shenanigans were going on earlier this summer are now over, and I’m a bit relieved.

I’m not exactly sure why I needed to harvest these herbs on Midsummer’s Day as the day waned, or what exactly I’m meant to do with them, but the ingredients seem to be a dreamwork blend of some sort, and I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I got a nudge, and I followed it. Story of my life, really. I do most of my witchcraft by intuition, trusting that I’ll figure it out as I learn by doing. Sometimes it all becomes clear later, when someone pops into my life, desperately needing something I made months earlier and then stashed in a cabinet!

Holiday Celebration

Our Spring Equinox!

The Spring Equinox itself (ie, the 20th) I didn’t do much except start a spell for a client that required full moon water. The following day, we went out to dinner with family who’d come in town for a business trip and had some time to visit. We went to an Afghani restaurant, and I had ordered a dish with lamb in honor of the season.

On the following Sunday, we had originally planned to take part in a ritual run by a fellow member of Fox and Fungi at our local UU church, but it was a tough week with a few unavoidable late nights and my chronic illness was not being kind. So instead, all we did this year was our little family dinner.

In our hearth cult, the Spring Equinox is Arianrhod’s Feast Day, and last year I shared a prayer I wrote for the occasion. We used that prayer again, and made the same meal, though this year I didn’t dye the eggs, and we managed to get the leeks and garlic all the way mixed in, haha! One of these years I swear I’m going to manage to get it all done on time, and make some Welsh Cakes, too.

I’ll probably need to start more than a day ahead on some of it, but it’s such a busy season! I started a bunch of seedlings in the days between the first quarter and full moon, and I was getting my raised beds all set up for the spring planting I’ll do next month. (We’ve still got a few frosts before it’ll be safe to direct-sow.)

Hopefully you all had a lovely Equinox, whether Spring like here, or Autumn in the southern hemisphere!

I’ll be sending the monthly newsletter out in a few days, so make sure you’ve subscribed if you’re interested. There are a couple of big announcements we’ll share there first! Click here to subscribe!

Celtic Polytheism, Event, Holiday Celebration, Paganism, Prayer, Ritual

Imbolc!

 

This year for Imbolc, we helped to organize a ritual at our local UU church.  At home, our deities of the occasion are Cailleach and Brigid, and the group agreed to honor them for our ritual.  We used a shortened version of the ADF creation of sacred space and ritual center, honoring of the Hallows (Fire, Well and Tree), the Kindreds (Shining Ones, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits), and a short meditation to help us connect to the space between the worlds.

Then we invoked the Cailleach and Brigid.  Another participant read a prayer they’d found called “Prayer to Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge“, by Patti Wigington, substituting “Brigid” for “Brigantia”.  I wrote a poem for Cailleach following the same pattern, and Scott read it during the ritual.  I’ve reproduced both, below.

We also tied raffia to pussywillow branches for our hopes and intentions for the spring, similar to cloutie ties, and we sang Kelianna’s song Brighid’s Flame together.

It was a simple ritual, but poignant for many of the participants, and it’s proof that we can pull something together in less than a week.  Still, I think we’re going to plan farther ahead for the Spring Equinox!

 

Imbolc Prayer for Cailleach, by Aleja Nic Bhé Chuille

Hail, Cailleach! Bringer of ice and snow,
She who blankets the world in white,
She who freezes the world so time seems to slow,
She who encourages us to rely on each other,
She who is called the Blue Crone,
And teaches us the true meaning of survival.

Hail, Cailleach! Queen of Winter,
She who frosts the ground with her staff,
She who dropped rocks and made mountains,
She who shaped valleys and hills,
She who flies over the land as a great winter storm.

 

Prayer for Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge, by Patti Wigington

Hail, Brigantia! Keeper of the forge,
She who shapes the world itself with fire,
She who ignites the spark of passion in the poets,
She who leads the clans with a warrior’s cry,
She who is the bride of the islands,
And who leads the fight of freedom.

Hail, Brigantia! Defender of kin and hearth,
She who inspires the bards to sing,
She who drives the smith to raise his hammer,
She who is a fire sweeping across the land.

 

[Feel free to use my prayer to Cailleach for your own rituals, with proper attribution!]

 

Bright Moon, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic

Kemetic Holiday: The Eye Wanders

This month’s Bright Moon coincided with the beginning of a two-part holiday, called “The Eye Wanders” and “She is Led Back”. The first takes place I Peret 19-21, which for me here is December 23-25. The second part is I Peret 28-II Peret 4, which for me here is Jan 1-7. Between that, I’ll shroud my statues to represent the Eyes being “gone”. This is taking the place of the Sailing Holiday I’ve done in previous years, and follows the same general format, with votive offerings before they leave and celebration when they return. I’ll post some photos of that below, but first, the short message from Bast and Sekhmet for this month’s Bright Moon:

“We are leaving soon, but when we return we will bring good things back with us. Celebrate and rejoice, life is meant to be enjoyed!”

The first day, I offered the white cloths I’ll be using to wrap the statues, alongside my usual Bright Moon offerings of food, drink, incense, and candlelight.

The second day, I added the boat, and gave another food/drink offering, hot cocoa, which you can see on the far right edge.

For the third day, I offered golden origami lilies, as votive offerings, and I placed them in the boat.

The statues I wrapped gently and placed them in small boxes, where they will stay until the next part of the holiday, She is Led Back.

Celtic Polytheism, Holiday Celebration, Paganism, Prayer

Prayer for the Solstice

This is a prayer I just wrote for my 3-day Solstice working for Na Morrigna. It’s a little rough, still, but it was written in a fit of inspiration a few moments ago. I may edit it later, but this is the version I used today, and will be using tomorrow and the following day.

We are the children of light

Children of darkness

And seekers of balance

Darkness beneath our wings

Wings that shelter the oppressed

Oppressors fear our darkness

Light that blazes in our eyes

Eyes that witness injustice

Injustice condemned once brought to light

Balance ripens into peace

Peace sown by justice

Justice grows into balance

A never-ending spiral

The spiral of the Sun

The Sun’s renewal never ending

Shortest day and longest night

Night the deepest darkness

Darkness once more birthing light

We are children of the light

Children of the darkness

And seekers of balance

Holiday Celebration

Samhain 2018

My Samhain Season began with my transition into darkness, timed to the heliacal rise of Spica (a star or multi-star system in the constellation Virgo) on October 24th, the same day as the full moon.  The timing was something I discovered by accident, as I fell down a rabbit hole of faery holidays and stellar timing following Morgan Daimler’s revelations about the Pleaides.  Spica seems to be closely associated with my Faery Queen, Starflower, and she has a sort of light-in-darkness and darkness-in-light balance to her energies that reminds me of the Chinese yin yang symbol.  I had noticed on previous years that her transition into darkness happened before November Eve, but this year I really dove into star charts and paid careful attention and though I believe her transition from light to darkness is somewhat gradual, the bulk of the transition seems to occur between the heliacal rise of Spica (when it rises before the sun) and when Spica is at its zenith in conjunction with the sun, which happens much closer to November Eve. (I’m still not 100% clear on whether it’s the zenith at noon or the sun conjunction that matters more, but the zenith at noon was easier to calculate: October 30th this year.)

Hallowed Homecoming, which was the subject of my previous blog post, began my ancestor work and my work with the Morrigna.  For the Ancestor Altar there, I prepared a small charm box, in a repurposed Sucrets container.  (I’m a huge fan of witchy upcycling.)  Inside I placed a sodalite stone from an incomplete rune set carved with Othala, a fortune from a fortune cookie that bore the phrase “missing you” in English and Chinese, and a purple paper heart into which I spoke the names of some of my most beloved ancestors.  It spent the weekend on that altar, among other tokens and pictures, and then it came home with me to my own ancestor shrine.

I did very little on the 31st.  We passed out candy, and though I expected to pull cards for my Crow Folk, I was told I had to Wait.  So, I worked on memorizing some more of the chants for the ritual I was helping plan, and I waited.  I did not feel called to pull cards to speak to any of my ancestors, either – I had received the messages that were most important during the main ritual at Hallowed Homecoming.

On the 2nd of November, I attended a Memorial and solidarity Shabbat Service at a local synagogue with my husband’s family, and that was an especially poignant evening of Ancestral Communion.  It was also a much needed balm for my grief, and I came away glad for the community I live in, and wishing that my own faith was better represented in it.

On the 3rd, I gathered with some friends at a friend’s house, and together the nine of us had a ritual to the Morrigna, which was powerful despite our greenness and small number.  Afterwards we had a pot luck, and there was an ancestor shrine set up in one room for people to visit and take time at.  My little sucrets container sat among other tokens for another evening.

Now it is the 7th, the day of the Dark Moon, and my Samhain season comes to a close.  I am finishing these blogs as the sun goes down, and then I will pull cards and dream on them, seeking a message from the Morrigna.  Tomorrow, I will write up a blog for the Dark Moon, and I will begin to pull cards for all the Crow Folks who have requested them.

 

 

Event, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet 2018

The Epagomenal Days started right after Lughnasadh again this year, on August 2nd, with Wesir (Osiris).  I gave offerings to each “birthday” god on their day, and took an omen from them by tarot card, using my Egyptian Tarot deck by Lo Scarabeo.  Here were their messages for us:

  1. Wesir (Osiris) gave me The Chariot: go forward, fighting your obstacles, and you will be victorious!
  2. Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder) gave me the 5 of Wands: work together, let constructive conflict and competition raise you to greater heights!
  3. Set gave me the Knight of Swords: take courage, and rage against the darkness of isfet!
  4. Aset (Isis) gave me The Hermit: be prudent, take your time, and use the wisdom you have gained.
  5. Nebthet (Nepthys) gave me the Ace of Pentacles: we are winning! We will have the success and glory we crave.

All in all those were pretty uplifting omens!

20180807_145839

 

On Wep Ronpet (Aug 7) I did my execration, using red paper this year instead of smashing a terracotta pot, removing the negativity of the old year and preparing for the new! I drew a/p/e/p on the paper, added some words about other things I wished to execrate, and then cut it up, and burned it.  It was very satisfying!

Afterwards I took a magical cleansing bath, with a scented bathbomb, the perfume oils I bought for Bast and Sekhmet, and some natron salts.  While I soaked, I meditated, talking to my Patronesses about the coming year.  I’ll be renewing my oath as an Oracular Priestess-Initiate, bound to honor them weekly and to serve my community through oracular work and heka during the Bright Moon.  This year I’m also going to work out a more set holiday calendar, finding appropriate holidays that I can celebrate spaced out throughout the year, instead of just Wep Ronpet and the Sailing Holiday, which are both very close to other holidays in my personal calendar.

My shrine item this year for Wep Ronpet is the travel shrine box – I’m finally painting it, and I’ll dedicate it and renew my shrine set up and welcome my Patronesses home on the next Bright Moon, which is also when I’ll be formally renewing my oath.  Look for that post after August 26th!

Holiday Celebration

Lughnasadh 2018

This year for Lughnasadh, instead of continuing our theme of having a family meal, we were involved in a lay-led worship service at our local UU Church, focusing on Lugh and the bounty of the first harvest.  I was part of a team that called the quarters (using the traditional elements this time, instead of my local cultus river goddesses) and presented representations of the harvest on a central table, around which we’d put the chairs for seating in two half circles.

I didn’t have a large role in part because I’d missed the second-to-last planning session, when we went to Wisconsin to visit my family and present the Acorn at the tribal picnic for enrollment.  That was nice – seeing everyone, including my brothers, whom I haven’t seen since last August, and before then not for almost two years.  With all the talk of community and coming together at the harvest, it’s hard not to think about how much of my community doesn’t live close by.  Still, this pagan group and the rest of local UU Church is slowly becoming the community I want and need, somewhere I can raise a child, somewhere I can find help when I need it.

I usually find myself more reflective as we move into autumn, but it seems to be starting early this year.  It makes sense, though – with Wep Ronpet following closely afterwards, Lughnasadh is the beginning of the end of my year, with a number of new year’s days of different traditions occurring between now and the secular new year on Jan 1st.